With literally hundreds of thousands of businesses using social media to shape their brands and boost their images, you’re already behind if you haven’t hitched a ride on the social media wagon. With new sign ups every minute on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like it may seem pretty easy to become part of the ever expanding social media network. Just click a few buttons and you’re in, right?
Many people baulk at the idea of hiring someone to set up and maintain their social media networks, but you may be surprised to find out just how much you need a social media consultant. Although it is true anyone with an e-mail address can set up a Facebook account, who’s to say they’re setting up the optimal Facebook account for their business? Without the help of someone who’s been around the social media block, you may be missing out on a lot with DIY social media. Like all marketing and public relations, the motions to go through aren’t that hard. Design your own newspaper advertisement, or program your own web site, or produce your own radio commercials. But ask yourself two questions first: 1) Am I the right person to make sure that this form of marketing generates revenue for my business? And 2) Is my time better spent seeing more patients, developing more software, building more widgets, or whatever my core area of expertise is, as opposed to “dabbling” in social media?
Here are a few reasons you may have heard for not hiring some social media assistance:
1) Social media is easy to set up
Yes, it is fairly simple to set up a Twitter account or LinkedIn profile. It may be quick and easy to add your company name and description, but chances are you’re not optimizing these important bits of content. You might be creating a decent Facebook page, but missing out on an opportunity to make the best Facebook page for your business and utilize all the additional tools Facebook has to offer. Also, you may not be using the right social media for your client and customer base. Just because a form of social media is popular doesn’t mean you should sign up.
2) Everyone is on social media, so it can’t be that hard to learn
Again, you can learn how to create a social media profile easily. But, the “everyone” on social media are not using it to promote a business or product. Using social media for your personal thoughts and using it for your business are very different. Just think about the 900 million pages, groups, events and community pages on Facebook. Now think about how many have only 1 or 2 participants. These pages, groups, etc. took little skill to create but are driving no traffic, making them essentially useless. Using social media is one thing, but using it to generate traffic is quite another.
3) My kid is on Twitter! If they can do it, I can do it
True, your 13 year old may be using social media, but take a second to assess how teens use these tools. Essentially, social media is a way for kids and teens to broadcast their life to their friends, not to reach out to potential customers. Company Facebook pages and Twitter profiles need to reach out far beyond family and friends. Also, teens on Facebook don’t need to answer to the FCC or other communication regulation organizations. Anything you write on company sponsored social media networks dramatically affects your company’s branding. A simple misspelling or inappropriate comment can influence your consumer base and cost you potential revenue.
4) Once you set up social media, it runs itself. There’s almost no upkeep
This thinking couldn’t be more untrue. Starting up social media means constant maintenance through (at minimum) weekly updates with content that is relevant to your organization and your consumers. Creating a social media profile and allowing it to go stale is far worse than never creating one. Most consumers go to Facebook or Twitter before Google and Bing to find information. If they find your Twitter account hasn’t been updated since January, chances are you’ll be labeled out of date and lose their business. Getting into social media usually requires time you don’t have to give up, so why not find someone who has the time AND the experience to make social media work for you.
5) Social media consulting is another expense and I can’t afford it
Wrong again. You CAN afford social media consulting due to the flexibility and variety of service. Most social media consultants have different service packages and allow you to pick and choose exactly what you need for as long as you need it. A consultant can even show you how to own your social media experience long after they work with you. Some of the many important things a social media consultant can do for you are:
- Help you set and meet attainable goals like increasing customers, sales or page visits
- Provide you with client profiles and show you how to tailor your brand’s message to reach potential customers
- Give you information on key words to use in posts so potential customers can find you easily while simultaneously increasing your page rank in popular search engines
- Provide you with hard numbers to show your growth
- Advise how employees can and cannot use social media
- Show you how to use social media to put out PR fires
- Plan an exit strategy should you decide to use social media for a finite time
- Or provide a sustainability action plan to keep you social media campaign moving
Not convinced yet? Take some time to muse over this thought from Webbed Marketing’s founder and president, Bill Balderaz:
“Social media isn’t about what buttons to push on a screen. Just like anyone can set up a Twitter account in 15 minutes, anyone can learn to play chess in 15 minutes. (But), it takes years of practice to be a great chess player and it takes years of work and experience to use social media as a way to generate business, connect with customers, communicate with the media, work with legislators or learn about your competitors.”
You could go it alone in the social media game, but chances are you’ll end up no better off than when you started. By simply tapping into social media experience you can begin learning how to make social media the star of your marketing campaign and finally start winning.